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XEDUC 10001


  1. Objectives
  2. How do I develop an inquiry question?
  3. How do I find resources?
  4. How do I recognize scholarly articles?
  5. How do I make my searching more effective?
  6. Summary & closing


By the end of class, you will be able to:

  1. Find the XEDU 10001 library course guide for this class
  2. Describe peer review
  3. Identify characteristics of scholarly articles
  4. Find a scholarly article using MRU LibrarySearch
  5. Find a scholarly article using a recommended database using the EDUC subject guide
  6. Improve search efficiency

Key Assignment Details

  1. Four current resources published within the past 8 years:
    • up to 2 professional magazine articles, websites, government reports etc.
    • at least 2 scholarly articles, book chapters, books
  2. Each annotation will include:
    • a summary
    • evaluation
    • reflection on applicability to question
    • relation to other resources annotated

Your Inquiry question:

  • Thinking critically, creatively, ethically, productively, and reflectively about essential ideas in a discipline
  • Reasonable and possible to research: Do angels exist? vs Why do people believe in angels? 
  • Comes from genuine curiosity and confusion about the world
  • Arguable, with multiple plausible answers
  • Demands evidence and reasoning because varying answers exist
  • Doesn't make assumptions or is not a leading question: Why do we only use 10% of our brains? vs What are some effective brain-based learning strategies?
  • Clear - you've defined all of the terms in your question
  • Leads to more good questions

Important:  Good inquiry questions will most likely require more than one draft. 

Some examples:

Good: How do good readers use strategies to understand text?
BetterWhich strategy should I use when I don't understand what I'm reading?

Good: What is proper punctuation, and why is it important?
Better: When is proper punctuation mandatory, and when is it optional?

Good: Why is World War I important?
Better: How important was World War I in shaping the modern world?

Start with a preliminary search. Consider news sources, encyclopedia articles or magazine articles to determine your interests. Revise your question and your search strategy.

Strengths: short, contains background information on a topic, normally a great starting point when you are just learning about a topic
Weaknesses: too short, print encyclopedias are out of date quickly, Wikipedia has reliability issues

Books and Book Chapters
Strengths: Provides an in-depth investigation into a topic
Weaknesses: too long, sometimes hard to tell whether it is scholarly

Scholarly Journal Articles
Strengths: often based on research findings or extensive review, written by experts, reviewed by experts, provides evidence
Weaknesses: Sometimes written using discipline-specific language or terminology, hard to understand,

Media Sources (news, online magazine articles)
Strengths: Good for current information
Weaknesses: Sometimes biased, sometimes written to entertain, often not written by experts

Websites & Social Media
Strengths: Highly accessible, includes government info
Weaknesses: It is hard to assess credibility and reliability...anyone can post online or create a website

Scholarly Articles

  • Often referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed 
  • Written by experts in a particular field
  • Keep others interested in that field up to date on the most recent research and findings. 

What is peer-review?

  • When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review board of colleagues in the author's field.  They evaluate this source as part of the body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.

General Characteristics

  1. Author: Expert in the field
  2. Review: Reviewed by other experts (peers)
  3. Audience / Language: Written for scholars and students; uses academic language
  4. Content: Original research and criticism; uses previous research literature for background
  5. Citations: Always

Quality refers to how trustworthy and reputable your source is.

  1. Purpose: Consider the purpose of the source.  Why did the authors write it and how do you know that?
    • Is it fact or opinion?  Is there bias?  (Does the source favour one thing over another in an unfair way (sometimes referred to as one-sided)?
  2. Audience:  Consider the audience of the source.  Who did the authors write it for and how do you know that?
  3. Authority: Consider who wrote the source and who is responsible for the source.  Are the authors experts on the topic and how do you know that?  Who is responsible for this information - a company, a government, a university, personal?  How do you know that?
  4. Currency: Consider when the source was published or written.  How recently was it written and how do you know that?
  5. Reliability: Consider the information from the source.  Does your source provide details about where they got their information - such as references?
  6. Relevance: What does it have to do with my topic?

Finding Sources

Start with the Education Subject Guide

Less is More: Start with one or two words and then add one additional term at a time

  • teaching
  • teaching portfolio

Phrase searching: Use "quotation marks" around key ideas made up of multiple words

  • "teaching portfolio"
  • very useful when you have a specific phrase containing common words

Truncation: Use an asterisk * to find different endings to your keywords

  • teach* = teach, teacher, teachers, teaching, teaches
  • organi* = organization, organisation, organic, organics

Use limits: These refine (narrow) your search using different restrictions

  • Date (last 10 years)
  • Peer-reviewed (for articles)

Boolean:  OR / AND / NOT

  • use OR for spelling (organization OR organisation) and words with similar meanings to reduce your # of searches
  • use AND to combine words and phrases (this is usually the default when searching)
  • use NOT to exclude a word or phrase (be careful when eliminating something from a search - it's easy to exclude too much)

Useful Guides and Resources

From Mount Royal University:


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Chris Thomas

Phone: 403.440.8501
Office: EL4423E